The French were recently outraged when an upscale British restaurant guide failed to include any French eateries in its Top Ten list. Jean-Claude Ribaut, a restaurant critic from Le Monde, called it a "farce" and "a swindle." Some critics have chalked this up to Anglo-Frankish rivalry, but the English long ago welcomed French cuisine, and the recent criticism of French culinary standards isn't limited to the English. For some time, restaurant rankings sympathetic to the French have come under attack from more globally minded food critics.
French cuisine, a marriage of science and art, has long been considered the standard of fine dining. In fact, French cuisine, in many respects, is fine dining -- at least in the Western world. The French so established culinary standards that no other country in the West remains untouched by French techniques and traditions.
Is it thus unsurprising that the influential Michelin and Mobil Travel (now the Forbes Travel) restaurant guides have given preference to French restaurants? Regardless, this understandable bias (especially considering that Michelin itself is French!) often comes under scrutiny. The New York Times and others have repeatedly criticized Michelin for its bias in favor of French restaurants. The UrbanSpoon, complaining about the lack of "ethnic diversity" in the Michelin rankins, notes that only one Chinese, one Indian, one Latin American and one Thai restaurant have received Michelin stars. The underlying narrative seems to be that European cuisine must make way for the dishes of Africa, Asia, India, and Mesoamerica.
Although political correctness can easily be attributed to multiculturalism and anti-Western tendencies, this phenomenon seems to have an underlying biological basis as well. Simply, French cuisine possesses a high dairy content, and most of the world is lactose intolerant.
Only Europeans (and a handful of others) have evolved the genetic disposition for lactose tolerance. As stated at the website Food Reactions:
The prevalence of primary lactose deficiency varies according to race. In a review by Gudmand-Hoyer E in published on The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1994), it is lowest in Scandinavia and Northwest Europe (3-8%) and close to 100% in most of Southeast Asia.
Based on estimates, those with a high degree of lactose tolerance (where lactose intolerance is 30 percent or less) include most of those of European ancestry and a handful of others. Those with lactose intolerance levels at 40 percent or more include Africans, Amerindians, Asians, Indians, et al.
While it's perfectly understandable that most people around the world wouldn't want to eat something their bodies cannot comfortably digest, it'll be catastrophe if the West altered its own standards to please the lactose-intolerant Rest. Will French cuisine be the next casualty of multiculturalism? Many are already quite sensitive about this Western injustice, even going so far as to say that "lactose intolerant" is a "racist slur."